Blackberry (Rubus spp.)

blackberry-flower

Ah, the beautiful blackberry bush! The arrival of these wonderful fruits in mid-Spring is a sort of holiday for us. The beautiful, delicate flowers start to bloom after the end of March, usually about the same time the wild onions start flowering.

We have made very light, delicious drinks out of the flowers, but by far the best course of action is to simply let them ripen on the vine into the wonderful berries! The majority of them usually are ripe by the beginning of May, just as the weather starts to really heat up.

Surprisingly, these fruits are much more prevalent than most folks would think. Preferring undisturbed, sunny fields or “waste” areas, in Texas these plants can thrive in shallow or marginal soils near abandoned lots or roadsides with ravenous zeal. Look in abandoned, or untouched areas that don’t experience much mowing. The leaves, thorny vines, and then flowers, are dead giveaways for these pioneering plants.

Like many other wild plants, blackberries and dewberries have a way of showing up uninvited in the most unexpected places; tenacious as they are! Should you want to transplant some in to your home or garden, or want to relocate an errant young vine, the best way is to take a root cutting. For small, young vines though, it might be safer to carefully lift out the whole plant and re-plant it elsewhere. While not true climbers like passionvine or grape vine, blackberries and dewberries are still rather fast growing, take care to plant them somewhere they won’t get into trouble, and do keep an eye on them!

Blackberries go into some of the most delicious recipes we have created (see here and here) and the possibilities for enjoying them are endless. Just about anything requiring a sweet, fruity ingredient could benefit from it’s addition. From tarts and cobblers, to cupcakes, muffins and cordials; everybody loves blackberries!

blackberry-juice

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